Theresa May has failed to challenge the position taken by the EU on the Irish border, allowing it to become “a decisive factor” in the Brexit negotiations, according to the hard Brexit European Research Group, which has been discussing whether to attempt to unseat the prime minister.
A position paper published on the future of the Irish border and presented by David Davis and a string of Tories hostile to May’s Chequers plan does concede that the UK will have to sign up to “equivalence of UK and EU regulations” for food products and standards.
But it claims it will be possible to do that by the UK and EU maintaining a system of customs checks away from the border. The paper says that “repetitive trade is well suited to established technical solutions and simplified customs procedures already available”.
Two former Northern Ireland secretaries, Owen Paterson and Theresa Villiers, were due to speak at the event, in a further sign that the ERG rebellion against May is hardening into a group openly defying May’s authority.